In addition to diagnostic tests, the Andrology laboratory can cryopreserve (freeze) semen samples for individuals seeking to store their samples for future use.
Reasons for Freezing
There are several circumstances in which a patient may want to store semen. Some of these situations include:
- prior to radiation or chemotherapy,
- prior to a vasectomy,
- prior to specific surgery that may carry a risk of impairing reproductive function,
- prior to in vitro fertilization (IVF),
- prior to shipping the semen to another location.
The laboratory operates both a short-term storage (STS) and a long-term storage (LTS) program for patients. Vials may be stored for 120 days at no charge following the freezing process. After that time, semi-annual storage fees will apply. The storage cost will be dependent on the number of vials of semen stored.
Sperm are frozen slowly by adding a “cryoprotectant” solution to the sample, helping the sperm to survive during the freezing and thawing process. The semen is divided into aliquots and stored in small vials. Cryopreserved semen is stored in liquid nitrogen (-197 °C). Freezing generally kills 25 to 50 percent of the sperm. Therefore, even a “good freeze” results in a lower effective number of motile sperm in the sample after it is thawed. Ideally, samples should be “test-frozen” first by thawing at least one vial to make sure that your sample freezes well. This is particularly important if you plan to put your samples into long term storage. However, It is important to understand that survival is not guaranteed, and the quality of thawed vials is variable.
Destruction of Samples
Samples are stored until used, shipped elsewhere, or destroyed. Samples will be destroyed per a patient’s written request or failure of patient to pay their storage fees (which will also be turned over to collections). It is your responsibility to promptly advise us of any changes in your home and work phone numbers and addresses. Failure to provide notification may result in sample destruction if we cannot find a way to reach you.
To request to have your samples destroyed and billing stopped, you will need to complete a sperm disposition form and either sign it in the presence of our staff or have it witnessed by a notary public. To request a sperm disposition form, give us a call at (612) 863-4115 or download and print a copy of the Sperm Discard Authorization and mail it to:
Center for Reproductive Medicine-Andrology Laboratory
2828 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55407